Fort Massac encampment is back this weekend

The popular Fort Massac Encampment will return to Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis Oct. 16 and 17.

For nearly 50 years, the encampment festival has provided visitors with a chance to experience what life was like at Fort Massac during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The fort served as a frontier outpost along the Ohio River for personnel from France, Britain, and the early years of the United States from 1757 to 1814.

The encampment will be operational from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Fort Massac Encampment is hosted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and sponsored by the Greater Metropolis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The encampment features an opening 'Posting of the Colours' ceremony at 10 a.m. both days. During both afternoons, mock military battles and tactical demonstrations will be performed by re-enactors on the Fort Massac grounds beginning at 3 p.m. A military retreat ceremony will close the event at 5 p.m. on Oct. 16 and at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 17.

Hundreds of military re-enactors and other participants wearing period clothing will present the roles of explorers, traders, settlers and soldiers on the early Illinois frontier.

Family and children's activities, musical entertainment, and period craft makers demonstrating blacksmithing, basket-making, weaving, and other skills will be staged throughout the encampment grounds. Food and drink also will be available.

Admission to the encampment is free. Parking is provided at the Old Fairgrounds adjacent to the park. Fort Massac State Park is closed to public vehicle traffic during festival hours. Visitors and encampment participants will be required to observe current guidance from the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health regarding face coverings and social distancing.

Fort Massac State Park, which opened as Illinois' first state park in 1908, is on the Ohio River at 1308 E. Fifth St. in Metropolis. For more information about the encampment and the park, contact the site office at (618) 524-4712.